Two High Risk Strategies: Apathy and Revolution

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From Julijuxtaposed

My thanks to Russell, without whose timing I may have written about something else…

Apathy: lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern:
Origin: early 17th century: from French apathie, via Latin from Greek apatheia, from apathēs ‘without feeling’, from a- ‘without’ + pathos ‘suffering’

Is apathy the right word for the public’s attitude to politics and the democratic process?

Is there really a lack of interest? Perhaps in the current content spewing from most mainstream mouths but this is not the same as a lack of interest in the issues.

Is there really a lack of enthusiasm? Perhaps for the direction in which said spew wants to take us. Perhaps for some issues: immigration gets some people very heated, for instance, whereas others refuse to see it as an issue worthy of so much time.

Is there really a lack of concern? I should bloody well hope not! Considering the political and the personal are irrevocably intertwined, how can one not be concerned? – Unless one has managed to completely detach from all national/global systems by living free in the woods or on another planet, never needing any assistance from anyone for anything. Ever.

Modern Politics, like religion used to be, is the vehicle by which a Society constructs itself. How can any individual or group maintain a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern for the very processes which determine and govern with so much inescapable relevance and influence? To sustain that level of detachment beyond a temporary knee-jerk reaction, surely takes some ignorance or selfishness? It is a myth to assume that individual or collective apathy can either be sustained or helpful except to the interests of the most powerful. Apart from pleasing the most libertarian, anti-government types, all it does is leave far too much to chance and the presumption of or dependency on the goodwill of others. Abstention from voting, especially continual abstention, is about as conducive to progress as a toddler stamping his foot. Do people really think that not voting will bring forth the altruistic service of our politicos; that they will correct themselves in the face of such meaningless punishment? No one in secure authority gives a shit. They don’t need to.

Far better, I think, to turn out to vote and spoil one’s ballot in the absence of a palatable choice. At least spoiled ballots show you’ve noticed and care. And they are counted. After all, it is one of the few official platforms we have through which to exercise choice and show our consent or disapproval. If those who currently subscribe to the apathy label were to turn up and spoil their ballots, would this not go further towards speeding up politicians’ incentive to do more than pay lip-service and start to take us seriously? They could not so easily use the ‘disenfranchised’ argument with such carelessness nor inflict the response of using their grassroots as an apologetic excuse buffer because it would already have been made clear that their manifestos didn’t cut the mustard. Imagine if the spoiled ballots in a General Election outnumbered the ticked boxes? Besides, it’s hardly as though it excludes us from organising other platforms simultaneously. I’m pretty sure we can multitask.

Revolution:
1, a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favour of a new system:
2, an instance of revolving: revolution about the axis of rotation
Origin: late ME, from Old French, or late Latin revolutio(n-), from revolvere ‘roll back’

Is revolution the best or only response to our malaise?

Maybe, but it is also like rolling dice. Revolution is another one of those generalising, shorthand words we throw around with casual ease. I have. This is because I hate what our present government is doing and also what other governments and the corporatocracy are doing all over the world. But I could have said the same thing about the Labour Administration in its last years as well as the Tory one before that. And probably, those older, would cite an earlier regime. But that’s because since, well, forever, it has always been that the solutions to the reasons for our discontent have been piecemeal and hard won. So, ‘roll back’ to what? To when? The golden age when we all thrived?

Rotate until we’re back where we started? Revolution usually comes when the causes of frustration reach a critical mass, something snaps and along comes momentum. This invariably makes for an indeterminate period of deadly uncertainty and violence. The initial gratification is short-lived and it usually chews up and spits out those who start it and theirs is rarely the enacted vision when it is all ‘over’. The leaders of the new epoch are usually those who had the power and/or opportunity to fill a vacuum. That does not guarantee a successful outcome for everyone else. I’m not saying no hard revolution under any circumstances. More that we should be careful what we wish for because this sort of revolution is a risk of unknowable proportions, the kind of which should be a last resort.

Some people talk about a revolution in terms of ‘evolution’ but this is much more akin to natural adaptation. In this context it involves a shifting of the psyche; an altered perspective because of changes in thinking and/or direct experience. Truly progressive shifts in consciousness come about over time and rest more within the domain of the spiritual. It is the sort of shift that is seen as revolutionary in hindsight. It cannot and should not be commanded or forced: to do so is to manipulate Free Will and that is an unsustainable and black magic.

As I’ve said elsewhere: it took us a very long time to get into this mess so ‘fixing’ things will certainly not be a quick affair (with or without a revolution). Plus, one person’s version of fixed is going to be another’s vision of a nightmare and, whatever my politics or my view of progress, I don’t want it to be at the cost of causing misery to another. I know what that’s like. I’ve also no time for the notion of a utopian view. It’s a romantic sounding synonym for dictatorship unless everyone shares exactly the same vision and how often does that happen? If there is a utopia in our earthly destiny – and there may be – I believe we might be looking in the hundreds or even thousands of years, for it must create itself organically and our species is nowhere near sufficiently evolved.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need leaders. We do. Not the command types or would-be messiahs to follow blindly and who do our thinking for us. That would just be another form of abdication or surrender; a choosing to be children that takes us right back to chance on another’s utopia. We need leadership that comes more in the form of inspirational thinkers and creative visionaries. We need the voices of practical wisdom and emotional intelligence which connect the small and large picture and the short-term with the long. Leadership of the kind that facilitates joined-up thinking about the connectedness of the problems we face so that more appropriate questions are asked and the solutions, therefore, more likely to be obvious, of better quality and embraced. We also need to remember, in our justifiable fury, that not everything needs to be razed as violent revolutions are want to do: some old scaffolding is as essential as a keystone. Baby and bath water, so to speak.

Sometimes changes, both good and bad, happen with tsunami speed but mostly they come by increments of evidence, experience and persuasive argument until the tide turns. That is what normally forces the reluctant political will. That may not seem very satisfactory but it won’t happen at all if the people for whom democracy is supposed to exist – us – are reluctant to first fully engage their own political will in the existing process.

“Before enlightenment: chopping wood; carrying water. After enlightenment: chopping wood; carrying water.” ~ Zen proverb

Are politicians really all the same? Whose side are you on?

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Are politicians really all the same? Whose side are you on?

Published previously by Liam R Carr

When you get involved in local politics one thing you hear is “It doesn’t matter who I vote for, you lot (politicians) are all the same”

Right now we can see clear differences in policy between the two parties that has not been seen since Thatcher was in power. Politicians for too long have tried occupy themuddy centre ground. New Labour stuck its flag firmly in the centre and won elections, Lib Dems have fashioned careers out of wriggling into the tiny space between the two main parties, they are still trying it now, claiming that they should be the party in a never ending coalition government because they make the Tories nicer and Labour meaner. Cameron came to power after reforming his Party, into Compassionate Conservatives; how quickly the mask slips.

When times are good the detail of economic policy is something that you can read about in the FT if you are that way inclined. During a recession however, every detail is front page news. The priorities, of both government and opposition, are laid bare.

On health the government are on the side of private healthcare providers. The health and social care act which allows private companies to get a slice of the NHS budget, is one of the few acts that Labour will repeal.

On education the government priority has shifted to academic qualifications in traditional subjects and values memorising facts over skills development. There is a choreographed split between Clegg and Gove on free schools, which not not change the implementation of a policy which Clegg could have voted down had he chosen to oppose it when it came before Parliament.

On welfare the line is less defined, with Labour and Tories alike trying to be “tough on benefits.” The divide however can been seen in the approach; with Labour guaranteeing a job people who are out of work for 2 years. Under Iain Duncan-Smith the DWP are sanctioning more job seekers than ever before. The job-centre stop payments then give the person being sanctioned directions to the local food bank. This is the poor feeding the poor; many donations come from pensioners who have memories long enough to remember a time before the welfare state.

Rising prices and falling wages are the battle lines on which the 2015 general election will be fought. Energy prices are spiralling out of control and David Cameron has persisted in stubbornly staying firmly the side of the big energy companies. A Tory will always say that market forces must to be interfered with, but when the market is rigged it will not sort itself out, only a government can fix it. The public, the Labour Party and even John Major agree that now is the time to act – something needs to be done.

All political parties from Cameron’s Conservatives to Mao’s Communists will claim to be on the side of ‘hard working people’ However decisions like selling the Royal Mail off cheap show how clear it is that the Tories are still a party of rich men, paid for by rich men, implementing policy which protects the interests of rich men. Under the Leadership of Ed Miliband the Labour Party is developing policies that really will benefit the many and not the few.http://liamrcarr.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/which-side-are-you-on.html?

The Voice of the People .. Is that Russell Brand?

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The Voice of the People needs to be heard.

I wonder what instrument can amplify the voices of the people? How can we be heard, and how can we effectively change the world and our lives? Is our frustration, our despair and apparent impotence to be answered by withdrawal from the political process? Who will speak for us?

  •  Parliament?
  • The Media?
  • Politicians?
  • Academics?
  • Celebrities?

Last week we witnessed a celebrity echoing the thoughts of so many of us. Our political representatives have ceased to be the servants of the people. They are the servants of the global corporations, politicians mere puppets  while the puppeteers hold the real power. I wonder where we have come to, if it takes a celebrity to make our point? Are we handing over the power we might have to one individual? Is there democracy in a TV show? 

Let’s have Tony Benn’s Democratic Revolution Now!

Benn says the  most revolutionary idea is democracy. If you have power, you use it to meet the needs of your community. As Tony Benn explains here  ”People who are poor, demoralised and frightened are easy to control.” This is how the very rich exert control – ensuing people are so downtrodden, so much ridden by debt, misery and pessimism, they have no desire to vote. “If the poor were to turn out and vote for people who represented their interests, that would be a real, democratic revolution.

In this article Prue Plumridge questions how we might respond to Russell Brand’s comments.

A Response to Russell Brand’s Interview

By Prue Plumridge

“Shock and horror was my initial response to Russell Brand admitting that he never voted  and whilst I still think it was  irresponsible of him to suggest that not voting is an option (if only because the thought of the Tories winning through the people’s apathy is frightening and abhorrent) his article in the New Statesman (once you get round his writing style) is nothing short of brilliant and everyone should read it. It sums up perfectly the state of play. At one end of the scale we have a political system in a state of decay and a bloated corporate sector which feeds on growth and consumption, both intertwined,  and on the other the so called 99%  who are disillusioned and  disempowered faced with rising inequality and growing poverty as well as the threat to our planet’s very existence. We face the burning question of how to save our planet from the ravages of unbridled capitalism aided and abetted by a corrupt political system and corporate sector which is totally out of control and ultimately will destroy us if we do not act.”

Time is not on our side.

The question is what to do about it?  

“Revolution is bloody and destructive and could leave us with nothing better or something worse – history tells us that.  Chris Hedges, the author of ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ believes that whilst violence may ultimately be the only response  to repression left to us, the ‘acts of resistance that sustain us morally are those that disrupt systems of power but do not violate the sanctity of life, even of those who enslave us’. These acts of resistance he believes should be carried out not necessarily because they are effective but because they are the right thing to do.  He acknowledges though that whilst those that carry out such acts are few and are often dismissed by the mainstream they are in fact beacons in the dark defying injustice.  He is quite clear too about the consequences of  ignoring the messengers  ‘we will either defy the corporate elite, which will mean civil disobedience, a rejection of traditional politics for a new radicalism, and the systematic breaking of laws, or see ourselves consumed.’Brand talks about the ‘spiritual’ imperative by which he means that we must acknowledge our connection to one another and to the planet on which we live which sustains us. ‘Consciousness itself must change’ he says. He quotes Buckminster Fuller who felt that the collective objectives should be ‘to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous co-operation without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone”. A worthy objective without doubt but also on current experience of the existing power structures pie in the sky and totally  unrealistic,  or so we are led to believe by the corporate and political elites whose continuing existence relies on the status quo. Our compliance and belief in our disempowerment convinces us there is nothing we can do to change things.

I don’t believe that we cannot change things and history is witness to that even if collectively we seem to have forgotten.
We are lulled  into a false sense of security by our fascination with the rich and famous, the media which deceives us with its stories and our attachment to consumption driven by a marketing machine which persuades us that it will make us happy. How much more comfortable it is to sit in our nice protective bubbles where nothing can hurt us as long as we keep our heads down and ignore it perhaps it will conveniently go away. There will be a price to pay for our apathy but for the moment we still can’t see it clearly.  But it is coming if we fail to act.
Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein, often sidelined by much of the mainstream media, have  long been calling us to action.  We need an army of such people who will keep up the noise until we all hear it loud and clear.Father Daniel Berrigan, an American activist in the 60’s said ‘It is important to keep perspective.  We haven’t lost everything because we have lost today. I happen to go very strongly with the Buddhist understanding that the good is to be done because it is good not because it goes somewhere.’ The struggle for justice may be constant and we may tire from time to time but all that matters is that we care enough to struggle for justice, for our planet and for future generations, even though we may never see the results in our lifetime. It is what should give us the courage to keep putting our heads above the parapet and keep on carrying out those ‘acts of resistance’ This is not about the arrogance of mighty works but rather incremental steps towards change through the  persistence and bravery of each of us as individuals and collectively to say there is another way.  Brand says ‘To genuinely make a difference, we must become different; make the tiny longitudinal shift. Meditate, direct our love indiscriminately and our condemnation exclusively at those with power.’  We are not impotent and it is time as he says for us all to wake up.”
Sources

The Massive Cash Hoard of Western Companies

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The cash hoard of Western companies

By Michael Burke
Published previously  by
 
Supporters of ‘austerity’ would have a very strong argument if there really were no money left. In that case, opponents of current policy would be left arguing only for a fairer implementation of those policies, or that perhaps they could be implemented more slowly. This is not the case. Firms in the leading capitalist economies have been investing a declining proportion of their profits. This is the cause of the prolonged period of slow growth prior to the crisis and a number of its features such as stagnant real wages, so-called ‘financialisation’ and the growth in household debt.

This negative trend of declining proportion of profits directed towards investment reached crisis proportions in 2008 and is the cause of the slump. As a consequence of the sharp fall in this investment ratio there has been a sharp rise in the both the capital distributed to shareholders and in the growth of a cash hoard held by Non-Financial Corporations (NFCs). This cash hoard is a barrier to recovery, releasing it could be the mechanism for resolving the crisis.

The chart below shows the level of surplus generated by US firms (Gross Operating Surplus) and the level of investment (Gross Fixed Capital Formation) for the whole economy. Since the former are only presented in nominal terms, both variables are presented here in the comparable way.

Fig.1

The nominal increase in profits has not been matched by an increase in nominal investment. In 1971 the investment ratio (GFCF/GoS) was 62%. It peaked in 1979 at 69% but even by 2000 it was still over 61%.

It declined steadily to 56% in 2008. But in 2012 it had declined to just 46%.
In a truly dynamic market economy there is nothing to prevent the investment ratio from exceeding 100% as firms utilise resources greater than their own (borrowing) in order to invest and achieve greater returns.

Therefore even an investment ratio of 69% is sign of a less than vigorous market economy.
However the subsequent decline in the investment ratio to 46% is a sign of enfeeblement. If US firms investment ratio were simply to return to its level of 1979 the nominal increase in investment compared to 2012 levels would be over US$1.5 trillion, approaching 10% of GDP. This would be enough to resolve the current crisis, although it would not prevent the re-emergence of later crises.

Distribution of profits

The uninvested portion of firms’ surplus essentially has only two destinations, either as a a return to the holders of capital (both bondholders and shareholders), or is hoarded in the form of financial assets. In the case of the US and other leading capitalist economies both phenomena have been observed. The nominal returns to capital have risen (even while the investment ratio has fallen) and financial assets including cash balances have also risen. One estimate of the former shows the dividend payout to shareholders doubling in the 8 years to 2012, an increase of US$320bn per annum.

The growth of cash balances is shown in the following data from the Federal Reserve. They are the changes in key balance sheet aggregates for US non-financial corporations from 2008 to Q2 2013.
Change in Balance Sheet Components, US NFCs, 2008 to Q2 2013, US$bn.

2008 Q2 2012 Change
Total assets 29,881 33,662 3,781
Total net assets (deducting liabilities) 16,656 19,470 2,814
Non-financial assets 16,945 17,686 741
Financial assets 12,937 15,975 3,038
-checkable deposits 14 386 372
-time deposits 382 597 215
-non-financial item:
Business equipment
3,896 4,191 295

Source: Federal Reserve

Total assets of US NFCs have risen by nearly US$4trillion over the period which is equivalent to approximately 25% of US GDP. The increase in net assets of US$2.8bn (after accounting for the rise in liabilities over the same period) is more than accounted for by a rise in financial assets of over US$3 trillion.

By comparison the rise in the current cost value of business equipment has been less than one-tenth that (and is accounted for by inflation).

Within the rise of financial assets, cash or near-cash instruments have contributed a rise of nearly $600bn (the biggest single contributor in the accounts is ‘miscellaneous financial assets’).

Generalised phenomena

The same is true in other capitalist economies. In 1995 the investment ratio in the Euro Area was 51.7% and by 2008 it was 53.2%. It fell to 47.1% in 2012. In Britain the investment ratio peaked at 76% in 1975 but by 2008 had fallen to 53%. In 2012 it was just 42.9% (OECD data).

The cash hoards are no less striking. The total deposits of NFCs in the Euro Area rose to €1,763bn in July 2013 of which €1,148bn is overnight deposits. This is a rise of €336bn since January 2008, nearly all of which is in overnight deposits, €306bn. In Britain the rise in NFCs bank deposits has been from £76bn at end 2008 to £419bn by July 2013.

In reality, this extraordinary accumulation of cash by NFCs began well before the immediate depression in 2008, along with the slump in investment. Both of these merit further elaboration elsewhere.

Conclusion

The profitability (profit rate) of US firms and firms in other Western economies has fallen, and even the absolute mass of profits fell for a period in the recession. While the former has not recovered, the latter has. But this has not led to a corresponding rise in investment and the investment ratio has fallen sharply.
The destination of of these uninvested profits is twofold. Owners of capital are in receipt of record payouts. And the financial assets of NFCs have risen dramatically, often primarily cash as firms are unwilling to risk any type of investment.

This hoarded store of capital is both the main impediment to recovery and the potential source of resolving the current phase of the crisis.

Grangemouth and the EU/WTO

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Grangemouth and the EU/WTO

By Syzygysue

Also published here  on Politics and Parasites

The dispute at Grangemouth is the old trick of provoking industrial action – then holding the workforce to ransom by threatening their jobs unless they agree to the draconian changes in their employment packages that the bosses wanted all along.  It’s exactly what Margaret Thatcher did to the Miners, and it is what Ratcliffe, a private Hedge Fund owner, has done to his employees.

But it is not just those who were threatened with job loss, Ratcliffe was also holding the UK and Scottish governments to ransom.  70% of Scotland’s fuel is processed at Grangemouth, and represents 8% of Scotland’s manufacturing capacity or 2% of its GDP.

Isn’t about time, the politicians turned the tables and called a halt to these blackmailing tactics by private energy providers?

For example, Ed Miliband’s announcement at LP conference which identified the public anxiety and anger about energy prices, has been met by the energy providers increasing their bills by 10%, in spite of OVO reports that wholesale prices have not increased.

The energy companies’ action is nothing short of a provocative Vs-up to the public and politicians.

Cameron et al have nowhere to go because they are caught between the public anger and their ideological commitment to the corporates.  Meanwhile, Ed Miliband’s proposal to freeze prices for 20 months is criticized as not being able to prevent price hikes both before and after (as indeed, the current show of strength on the part of the energy companies is intended to demonstrate).

Too rarely reported, however, is Labour’s intention to regulate the wholesale energy market by pooling electricity prior to its being sold on to the energy companies.

But why on earth go to all that bother?

We’ve already seen the energy providers disregard for the public good; their indifference to increasing the numbers of cold-related deaths this winter, and people forced to choose between eating and heating.

How much further do the energy companies have to go, in clearly demonstrating that the UK needs to be able to control supply and energy prices on behalf of its people, the economy and the environment?

The political-bullying alone, is reason enough to curb the energy companies power by taking them into public ownership asap.

But on top of that, climate change and transforming energy provision away from fossil fuels will never be achieved through the markets.

… the project of sustainable capitalism was misconceived and doomed from the start because maximizing profit and saving the planet are inherently in conflict and cannot be systematically aligned even if, here and there, they might coincide for a moment. That’s because under capitalism, CEOs and corporate boards are not responsible to society, they’re responsible to private shareholders. CEOs can embrace environmentalism so long as this increases profits. But saving the world requires that the pursuit of profits be systematically subordinated to ecological concerns…

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue56/Smith56.pdf

Profits depend on increasing sales and prices not on reducing energy consumption and supporting cheaper renewable energy.  The first duty of a private company is to maximize the return to its shareholders.

However, taking the refinery into public ownership is not so easy given the EU/WTO legislation, negotiated and signed in secret by the EU Commission and Council of Ministers… and the UK government will be even further constrained by the US-EU FTA (Free Trade Agreement) currently being rushed through for 2014.

Once a country is locked into the GATS regime, the right of its government to regulate liberalized service sectors is diminished, paving the way for foreign transnationals to enter the domestic market. Any attempt to reverse the situation would be subject to WTO disciplines and penalties.

The same holds true for Royal Mail and the NHS.  As an unelected Corporate Tribunal, the WTO has the power to overturn UK sovereignty on employment and environmental protection legislation, and many other decisions.

Unravelling the spin: a guide to corporate rights in the EU-US trade deal

But as Michael Meacher writes:

… this disaster reveals the desperate need for a proper industrial strategy to safeguard and steadily enhance the nation’s manufacturing capacity.   This dispute reveals the appalling consequences which flow from unconditional belief in private markets and the need for a strong supportive State role as exists in all successful economies today.

So how can we take back our public services and utilities into democratic ownership?

We are never going to dismantle this free trade regime with negotiation tactics… if we want to defeat the free trade regime or an institution like the WTO we need to build a new balance of forces led by social movements.

Essentially we need to organise/support a united anti-capitalist Battle-for-Seattle-on-Thames  and reject the ever-increasing stranglehold of liberalisation, financialisation and the Washington Consensus.  After all, none of us were even told about this, let alone voted for it.  We certainly are already in the post-democratic era.

Magical Thinking

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Magical Thinking

By Roy Mayall

One of my neighbours came over to say hello the day the Royal Mail was privatised. ‘I expect you’re looking forward to getting your hands on all that money you’ve just made,’ he said. The shares allocated to me as a member of staff had gone up by almost 40 per cent in a day. The government had brought forward the date of the IPO in order to beat a strike ballot by the Communication Workers’ Union.

 

 Most of us, like most people, were against the privatisation. It felt like my neighbour was congratulating me on taking a bribe. I lost my temper, and told him what I really thought about the privatisation. I pointed out the contradictions: that the state has spent billions of pounds of public money to subsidise the bargain basement sell-off; that the pension fund was nationalised to sweeten the deal; that the loss-making Post Office was decoupled from its more successful partner and retained in public hands; that pricing restrictions were lifted in anticipation of privatisation, allowing the company to increase its profits. None of this has got anything to do with the free market. This is direct government intervention to create a rigged market. If the price restrictions had been lifted ten years ago, the entire argument for privatisation would have disappeared overnight.

My neighbour said that governments shouldn’t be involved in the business of running companies. He said that privatisation would allow the company access to future investment. He said that previous privatisations had been a great success, and cited British Telecom and British Airways as examples. He said that taxpayers were fed up with subsidising the Royal Mail. The argument went on for a while. Every time I was about to get in my car he’d say something that I had to contradict. I finally lost patience and drove away when he talked about the investors who were going to help the company become a big success:

‘They are wealth creators. They build the factories so that we can have jobs.’ You hear that phrase ‘wealth creators’ a lot. It is a commonly used justification for the privatisation agenda, the idea that these individuals generate wealth by their investment. They are the ‘wealth creators’, and we are the beneficiaries of that wealth. It’s a form of magical thinking, like the pharaohs believing that their rituals were responsible for the flooding of the Nile, a post hoc fallacy: because they have invested in the company and increased their wealth, their investment somehow ‘created’ the wealth. The actual wealth creation, the work that my colleagues and I do, in this version of reality, is an accidental by-product of the process, a privilege I am allowed by the goodwill of these magically endowed individuals.

 Moya Greene, the chief executive of Royal Mail, has already told us to expect job losses. Very soon I expect to be begging for the privilege of working longer hours for less money. –

See more at: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2013/10/24/roy-mayall/magical-thinking/#sthash.n2Ot71Js.dpuf

NEWSNIGHT – Paxman vs Brand. Full Interview.

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Russell Brand triumphs in shifting Paxman off his usual sterile interviewing tactics… and manages to air some home truths routinely ignored by the tory-intimidated BBC.  Zizek tried to escape the same dominant paradigm in an interview with Gavin Esler, but in spite of the masterly comment that Esler was so 20th Century, Brand succeeds where Zizek was simply obscure.

In summary, Russell Brand argues that:

Democracy is not working – politicians are apathetic to people’s needs.  The planet is being destroyed.  There should not be such economic disparity that the aggregated wealth of the richest 300 Americans is greater than the aggregated wealth of 85m poorest Americans.  The burden of proof that the system is working is on the people with the power.

Difficult to disagree.